Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Yes Sir, I Will

In 1983 anarcho-punk band Crass released their final LP Yes Sir, I Will. The title was taken from an item in The Sun newspaper. The photograph that illustrated the piece showed Prince Charles greeting Simon Weston, a Welsh Guard, whose face had been badly disfigured during the Falklands conflict. Beneath the picture the caption read: "Get well soon" the Prince said. And the heroic soldier replied "Yes Sir, I will". Crass turned the picture into a poster which they gave away free with the record (see pic). It's a powerful image. For those who were pro-the Falklands campaign it might have represented duty, bravery and loyalty. For those against, it would be seen as a somewhat grotesque depiction of the horrors of war - a laughing, privileged, Prince decked out in his ceremonial military costume face to face with an ordinary soldier who had suffered 49% burns in a real air strike. From a Welsh point of view there is added hegemonic and colonial significance. For Crass themselves Yes Sir, I Will was intended as an attack on the Thatcher government and its cynical use of armed conflict to both promote patriotism and deflect attention from unpopular domestic policies.